Friel's for Real had never won a stakes race until she overwhelmed a band of older fillies and mares in Saturday's $75,000 Gala Lil Stakes at Laurel Park.
The telltale sign that Friel's for Real might be for real came in last month's Maryland Racing Media Handicap, when she finished a troubled second. She placed behind Undercover in that race, a mare she beat handily this time by six lengths. City Fire, who dueled with another speedster for the lead, finished third.
Friel's For Real completed the nine furlongs in 1:50 under jockey Abel Castellano Jr. Although she's made her last five starts at Laurel Park, the Ned Allard trainee is based at Philadelphia Park. She has three wins at Laurel and has never been out of the money in six career efforts there.
"She made a very bold move," Allard said. "She's a filly on the improve."
The win was the fifth added money victory of the meet for Castellano.
Allard also saddled Dreamadreamforme ($8) to a win the fourth race and is five-for-nine this year at Laurel Park.
Friel's for Real paid $9.40, $4.20 and $3. Undercover returned $3.40 and $2.40. City Fire's show was $4.